Vryloka Vampire Combination Undead Living Dead Confusion...

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Hi all,

I'm making a Vryloka Vampire.  

The Vryloka part gives the Living Dead trait.

The vampire part makes the character undead.  Does that over ride the Living Dead option of the race?  Do I still benefit from the Living Dead trait or is that nilled as I chose the class vampire?

Also, the Living Dead trait says that if a power has different effects on living and undead I can choose which effect I take.  What constitutes different effects?  For example, a cleric's power Turn Undead has a Huge effect on undead but has absolutely no effect on the living.  Can I choose to receive "no effect" because "no effect" is different from the effect it has on undead?

I know these rules are new from HoS so they may not be very clear yet.  Let me know what you think...

It would seem to me that Vryloka were specifically made to work well as vampires so I would think that the trait Living Dead is intended to work with the vampire class but I'm just not sure.

First, addressing the "different effects" question.  Yes, as with Turn Undead if an enemy was using it against you, or maybe if you were dominated and a player needed to use it on you to stop you, whatever the case may be you can choose to suddenly be living, and not undead.  Or the other way around, if there's a power that gives a bonus to undead creatures, you could then say you are undead to gain the benefit.

As with the vampire part, I'm assuming that doesn't override the racial trait of the Vryloka.  Especially since all the races in the book are basically meant for the vampire and other classes/builds mentioned.  That and the Living Dead trait is basically the only thing of benefit that's unique to the race.  Without it you might as well just pick a better race.

Mind you there's really nothing specifically stating otherwise that I read in the book, so at this point it's basically just going to be speculation.  But the thing with the vampire is that being one means you become undead.  The Vryloka are already, essentially, undead so there's no reason to change that.
Your mileage will vary but to me the Vampire class is overiding your Type.

Child of the Night states: "You are an undead creature.  You are unaffected by anything that affects only living creatures."  This is essentially repeating the definition for the Undead keyword from the compendium, except it does curiously leave out the part about "Undead are not living creatures".  But, as a general rule, undead are not living, and so a Human Vampire would not be considered living, because it is still a more specific rule than the assumption that humans are living.

Vryloka's Living Dead says: "You are both living and undead.  If a power has different effects on living creatures and undead creatures, you choose which effect applies to you."  This is a more specific rule than the general rule that undead are not living.  You are able to specifically declare yourself living in response to a power.

So, yes, you gain the benefit of both.

Other little tidbits:

One could argue by RAW that a non-vampire Vryloka does not need to sleep.  Living Dead states that you are undead, and the glossary states: "They don’t need to breathe or sleep."  Vampire explicitely states that you do need to sleep, but Vryloka does not get that stipulation.  I'd personally rule that that isn't RAI, and the line, "you are both living and undead," was intended as fluff rather than crunch, but there it is.

Also note that Living Dead only works on "powers".  For example, a Vampire Vryloka would not be able to pass through an Undead Ward, since it is a ritual and not a power.


But that's all rulesy nitpick, and at the table, I'd go with the more generalized rule of "don't take away people's cool abilities," and be done with it.

Well page 128 tells:"Despite their ties to vampirism, vrylokas
maintain a strong taboo against the complete
embrace of an undcad existence. They seek eternal
life, not the empty shell of an undcad existence."
of course that's no gameplay rule..
IMHO becoming a vampire turns a vryloka (or a warforged) fully undead, overriding the living dead (or living construct) traits

Keep in mind, we are in an edition of D&D where a cleric can completely abandon his deity, and still use that god-given power to blow up his former temple.  The conditions are rare where a player would outright lose a defining trait or ability of his character.  Reasoning like "IMHO" and "to me" shouldn't be grounds enough to deny a player a book-given ability.

Warforged would be another you would need to approach more carefully.

"Living Construct: You are a living construct. You do not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. You never make Endurance checks to resist the effect of starvation, thirst, or suffocation. All other conditions and effects affect you normally."

There's a lot of similar traits to the Vampire's Undeadness, though it goes on to exclude eating and drinking.  Since these aren't discussed by Child of the Night, this is the more specific rule on those points.

As for sleep, Vampires simply state that they must sleep.  Warforged have a more specific description as to how their extended rests work in Unsleeping Watcher, and so that is most likely the more specific rule.

Could you Turn Undead on a Warforged Vampire?  Yup.  They are undead, and unlike Vryloka, they don't have an ability to explicitly protect them.  Would an ability that effects only living creatures work on a Warforged Vampire?  No, because Child of the Night explicitely makes them immune.

Yeah, undeath does make Living Construct act a awful lot like an ordinary Construct, but that doesn't make them cease being one.  For example, many items can only be used by Living Constructs.  Being Undead would not keep you from being able to use those.

All and all, these abilities don't really conflict each other in very many ways outside of trying to get one's head around the idea of "living undead".

Well page 128 tells:"Despite their ties to vampirism, vrylokas
maintain a strong taboo against the complete
embrace of an undead existence. They seek eternal
life, not the empty shell of an undead existence."
of course that's no game play rule..

Yeah, but if you look at the Vryloka section in the Vampire Class, you see something like this:

Vryloka think Vampires are cool.  They worship them and bow down to them as their all knowing elders.  Vampires will lead the Vryloka into a great and glorious future.

Hmm... I wonder which one is the truth.

"Vryloka vampires maintain a low profile among
their people, revealing their secret only to close
family and kin. The intrigues and machinations that
drive the vrylokas' secret societies are built on power,
and the power wielded by true vampires can make
them a target for betrayal by other families. Among
their own kin, vryloka vampires often become elders
and leaders, guarding their family's most ancient
wisdom and secret traditions."

There is no contradiction, vryloka vampires keep a low profile, only their closest family knows the secret(and why should this be a secret if everyone in the community thinks vampirism is good?). They are just leaders in their familiy(they are leaders because a true vampire can wield more power and doesn't die after ~300 years like most vrylokas), a society with multiple vryloka families would work against the vampire family.

anyway, from a lore perspective a vryloka vampire embraced a complete undead existence, can't see how this doesn't mean they are no longer living and undead at the same time.

The vryloka entry in the handbook specifically notes that the Vryloka who choose vampirism use not the evil vampire ritual (Dark Gift etc) but an altered form of their blood bond augmented with Vistani magic.  Until I get a ruling from Wizards, I'm calling a vryloka vampire un/liv as the racial feature.  The question in my head is how the necrotic resistance interacts.
I look at it like this; If you are a human, elf, dwarf, etc.. you are living. Once you become a Vampire, you are no longer living, because to become a Vampire you have to be undead. If you are a Vryloka, you are living dead, once you become a Vampire, you are no longer living dead, because to become a Vampire you have to be undead. Vyloka are only living dead because they are not full Vampires. If they give up the rest of their humanity to become a Vampire, they are no longer living dead they are just plain undead. I know this answer isn't in the rules, or Developer approved, but it makes sense to me.
Really you should just talk with your DM and come up with a solution that suits your gaming group and their playing style.

For me, as a DM if a player asked me about this, I would say it would depend on the back story of how you became a vampire. If you became one through the special way that Vryloka do to become a vampire, then I would say that they would retain their Living Dead rule. But if they were to have become a vampire through other means then I would say that they would lose this rule due to gaining power from undeath.

Does this make sense to you guys? 
Well, the topic is certainly appropriate for thread necromancy...

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

See ... Turn Undead doesn't give anything for being a living creature within the power's area, so I would argue that you cannot choose to be living to avoid it.  If it said something like "Effect: Living creatures gain a +2 power bonus to all defenses until the end of the encounter." then I could understand a Vryloka player being able to avoid the attack part, since the power is now giving different effects based on being living or undead.

Simply not stating that it targets living creatures is not enough.  Because the opposite rule cannot be applied.  What would stop a Vryloka player from simply declaring that no powers target undead so, that's an option and I can choose to be undead in order to not be targetted.

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